Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Starting Today: Last Job
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Episode One of Last Job

            Tully Brooks crept along the back of the buildings in Hard Stone, Colorado. The hour was late and the only sounds were barking dogs and revelers at the town’s two saloons.
            Tully stopped at the bank. The back door was unlocked as had been previously arranged. Stepping inside, the gunman felt a strange nervousness. This job was like no other he had ever pulled. 
            From the small storage area where Tully had entered, he continued through an open door into the bank proper. The outlaw paused beside the teller’s cage, then made his way toward a yellow light which stood on the desk of George Conklin. As he entered Conklin’s office, Tully mused to himself that George Conklin did not look like a typical banker. He was a stocky, muscular man somewhere in his thirties, with leathery skin. His appearance fit well in a town populated by miners.
            Conklin looked up from his desk. “Right on time, Mr. Brooks. Wish I could do business with more men as conscientious as you.”
            “From what I understand, you and I will never do business again.”
            Conklin smiled, pulled out a cigar, then returned it to his suit pocket, apparently deciding this occasion did not merit a smoke. “That’s right, Mr. Brooks. After tonight, you are never to return to Hard Stone. Understand?”
            Tully didn’t reply.
            Conklin decided to let it pass. He pulled out a desk drawer and tossed a roll of bills onto his desk, followed by a brown canvas sack. “Five hundred dollars, like I promised.”
            Tully Brooks picked up the money and counted it.
            “Don’t you trust me, Mr. Brooks?”
            Conklin laughed, but there was a nervous quiver in it. He grabbed a newspaper from the top of his desk, crumpled it up and placed it in the canvas bag. “In case, anyone sees you leave the bank.”
            Out of habit, Tully looked through the doorway of Conklin’s office, and gave the bank a once over. His eyes went first to the safe, which, for once, held no importance for him. He noticed that the window shades were pulled down. Did Conklin do that all the time, or would it cause people to wonder? He let out an impatient breath and took the bag. “Ready?”
            The banker nodded his head, opened the right hand drawer of his desk and took out a pistol. “Start running.”
            Brooks pulled his bandanna over his nose and fled from the bank. He ran around the corner and mounted his strawberry roan as Conklin shouted, “The bank is being robbed!”
            Tully galloped off as the banker fired at him. The shot came close. An angry Tully Brooks considered returning fire and killing the snake, but that didn’t seem right. This was, after all, easy money.

Tomorrow: Episode Two of Last Job